The 2010 Tony Award®-winning musical Memphis will delight Durham Performing Arts Center patrons on Jan. 24-29 in DPAC‘s 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art theater in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC.
Memphis made its Broadway debut, directed by Christopher Ashley and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, on Oct. 19, 2009 at the Shubert Theatre, where it is still running. (Memphis has played 932 performances as of Jan. 15, 2012.) The show originally starred Chad Kimball as music-mad department-store stock boy Huey Calhoun; Montego Glover as up-and-coming African-American singer Felicia Farrell; and J. Bernard Calloway as Felicia’s brother, underground Beale Street club owner Delray Farrell.
The show won four 2010 Tony Awards, including the Tonys for Best Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (music by David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book of a Musical (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (Daryl Waters and David Bryan), plus four 2010 Drama Desk Awards, including the awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Music, and four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including the awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Score.
According to Durham Performing Arts Center:
“Memphis takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50’s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun [played in the current National Tour by Bryan Fenkart] fell in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer [Felicia Boswell as Felicia]. Memphis is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever. Come along on their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves — filled with laughter, soaring emotion, and roof-raising rock ‘n’ roll.”
In addition to Bryan Fenkart as Huey and Felicia Boswell as Felicia, the National Tour cast of Memphis includes Quentin Earl Darrington as Delray, Rhett George and Will Mann as Delray’s friends as Gator and Bobby, Julie Johnson as Huey’s mama Gladys, and William Parry as Memphis radio station co-owner Mr. Simmons.
The Memphis company also includes (in alphabetical order): Evan Autio, Bree Branker, Whitney Brown, Whitney Cooper, Scott Difford, Christopher Gurr, Daisy Hobbs, Crystal Joy, Kyle Leland, Jarvis McKinley, Happy McPartlin, Kenna Michelle Morris, Jill Morrison, Austin Owen, Kent Overshown, Alfie Parker, Jr., Justin Prescott, Jody Reynard, and Peter Matthew Smith.
In preshow publicity, Durham Performing Arts Center also writes:
“[Memphis] features a brand-new Tony winning score with music by Bon Jovi’s founding member and keyboardist David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), who also pens the musical’s book. Bryan and DiPietro also collaborated on the award-winning Off-Broadway hit, The Toxic Avenger.
“Memphis is based on a concept by the late George W. George (producer of the Tony nominated Bedroom Farce and the film My Dinner with Andre), with direction by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, who is currently represented by three shows on Broadway (Memphis, Jersey Boys, and The Addams Family).
“Scenic design for Memphis is by Tony Award winner David Gallo (The Drowsy Chaperone, Reasons to Be Pretty), costume design is by Tony nominee Paul Tazewell (In the Heights), lighting design is by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Jersey Boys) and sound design is by Ken Travis (The Threepenny Opera).
“David Richardson of WOR Radio calls Memphis ‘The biggest hit on Broadway,’ while Charles Isherwood of The New York Times says, ‘David Bryan evokes the powerhouse funk of James Brown, the hot guitar riffs of Chuck Berry, the smooth harmonies of The Temptations, the silken, bouncy pop of the great girl groups of the period.’
“The New York Post raves, “Of such thrills, Broadway is made,” Newsday calls the show “A smash! An extraordinary show,” the Daily News promises that Memphis will “Blast you out the door humming and happy” and NY1’s Roma Torre cheers, “Memphis rocks!”
“The national tour of Memphis will be produced by Junkyard Dog Productions, Barbara and Buddy Freitag, and Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, with Latitude Link, Jim and Susan Blair, Demos Bizar Entertainment, Land Line Productions, Richard Winkler, Alex and Katya Lukianov, David Copley, Dancap Productions, Inc., 2 Guys Productions, Patty Baker, and Dan Frishwasser, in association with Eric and Marsi Gardiner, Linda and Bill Potter, Broadway Across America, Memphis Orpheum Group, Vijay and Sita Vashee, Apples and Oranges Productions, Brian and Betty Dovey, John Yonover and Ron Yonover, Loraine Boyle/Chase Mishkin, Remmel T. Dickinson/Shadowcatcher Entertainment, [and] Jocko Productions/Scott and Kayla Union.”
SECOND OPINION: Jan. 18th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/17216198/article-Black-and-white-music-of-‘Memphis’-? (Note: You must register first to read this article).
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents MEMPHIS at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24-26, 8 p.m. Jan. 27, 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 28, and 1 and 6:30 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.
TICKETS: $42.50-$79.75 (including fees).
DPAC Box Office: 919/680-ARTS (2787) or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1551056/.
The Musical: http://www.memphisthemusical.com/ (official website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_(musical) (Wikipedia), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_(musical) (Internet Broadway Database).
The Tour: http://s365859168.onlinehome.us/ (official website).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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